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St.George Healthcare Group

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Fanatic Fetish White Lovers English Translated

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Thus it came to pass that it was the Okomfo and not the Obayifo, as is generally assumed, who administered the terrible fetish oath. It was he who mixed the gunpowder with the rum and added grave dirt and human blood to the concoction that was to seal upon the conspirators' lips the awful nature of the plot for liberty, and steel their hearts for the dangerous undertaking. It was he, no less, who devised the mystic powder that was to make their bodies invulnerable, and enable them to meet unscathed the white man's bullets. Finally, it was the Okomfo and not the Obayifo who, taking advantage of herbal knowledge, induced a state of torpor on subservient tools, that he might seem to raise the dead to life.

Bringing the subject up to date, Fr. Emerick states: "Bedwardism has all the ear-marks of mialism, and in its fetish origin is fundamentally the same. Its founder was a lunatic, named Bedward, who was suffering from religious monomania. He claimed that he had visions from God, and that the spirit of God had descended upon him and that in him the prophets were reincarnated, at one time Jonas, at another Moses, then John the Baptist. He declared that in a vision God had made known to him that the water of Hope River cleansed from diseases and sin. It was rumoured that a sick woman was cured by partaking of this water. Belief in Bedward's miraculous powers gradually grew until persons from all over the island carne to get the healing waters from him and stories of wondrous cures by him were spread about. The craze grew until as many as twenty and thirty thousand Negroes used to gather every Wednesday morning along the river bank at a place called August Town, on the Hope River. In the great throng were hundreds of the crippled, the deformed, lepers, the blind, consumptives and sufferers from every form of disease. At a few moments of nine the so-called prophet would appear in flowing white robes, and with a wand in his hand, with elaborate and majestic ceremonies, he would bless the water, whereupon, these thousands of men, women and children of all ages would strip naked and jump into the water. An indescribable scene followed. . . . I only introduce this short account of it here as a help to my study of Mialism and because Bedwardism seemed

After stating: "The original mial dance is said to be an old West African priest dance," Fr. Emerick continues: "The Mialists robed themselves in white and affected the power of divination. The Revivalists do all this. There was a band of Revivalists who met every Thursday at a place called Retirement, in the Dry Harbour Mountains. I often heard them, for it was one perpetual howl from morning till night, like the rise and fall of tidal waves on the sea beach. I have gone to see them and any account of demoniac possession that I ever read seemed tame in comparison with the demoniacal contortions, the hysterical singing and moaning, the frenzied gyrating, swaying, dancing and the abominable jerkings, of these people in the heat of their wild African, weird fetish worship to become possessed by the spirit. They form a compact circle, or rather wheel, of men and women. The whole living, squirming wheel circles and swirls in a body and each individual gyrates at the same time with many a curious bow and bend and dip and twist. Alternately they sing and moan and shout and scream. Every now and then by spells they go through abdominal contortions, just as if some infernal spirit of wondrous strength gripped them and threw into convulsions every fibre of their being. Their eyes and faces with the demon of possession looking from them made a horrible sight to see, and once you have seen it you will never forget it. They all do not do the same thing at the same time, some are doing one thing and others are doing different things, but all together they make a harmonious inharmonious whole. Each one held in his hand a green piece of bush or twig. I asked the reason for this, but got no satisfactory


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